The opposing effects of Class 1B and Class 2 FOXA1 mutations in prostate cancer

Authors:

Justin Hwang, Sachin Deshmukh, Sharon Wu, Andrew Elliott, Nishant Gandhi, Alex Patrick Farrell, Chadi Nabhan, Rana R. McKay, Elisabeth I. Heath, Sylvan Baca, Oliver Sartor, Scott Dehm, Emmanuel S. Antonarakis

Background: PCa harbors recurrent FOXA1 alterations, yet distinct alteration types may drive divergent consequences. Here, we established several classes of FOXA1 alterations and evaluated their clinical outcomes, molecular correlates, and immunologic landscape in a large cohort of primary and metastatic PCa samples from Caris Life Sciences.

Methods: We interrogated the Caris DNA (592-gene/whole exome) and RNA (whole transcriptome) NGS databases. FOXA1 alterations were annotated based on amino acid (a.a.) location and prior functional studies (Table). Real-world overall survival (OS) was determined from insurance claims data using Kaplan-Meier estimates. Gene set enrichment analyses (GSEA) was used to estimate signaling pathway activity. Immune-cell fractions were inferred from bulk RNA-seq using quanTIseq. All comparisons are made relative to FOXA1 WT cases.

Results: The overall prevalence of FOXA1 alterations was 16%, with no enrichment in metastatic PCa samples (15.5%). Class 2 mutations were enriched in histologic NEPC, were associated with a classical NEPC mRNA signature, and showed poor survival with ADT (HR 5.6, 95% CI: 2.5–12.5, p,0.001). Conversely, metastatic PCa patients with Class 1B mutations had numerically improved survival with ADT (HR 0.76, 95% CI: 0.50–1.14, p=0.18). All FOXA1 alterations (except Class 2) resulted in increased FOXA1 transcripts, with 1B and 1C having the greatest effects (q,0.0001). Class 0 and 3 alterations had 2–5 fold higher frequency of TMB-high and MSI-high status (q,0.05). Conversely, Class 1B exhibited lower TMB and markedly fewer TP53 mutations (35.7% vs 20.3%, q,0.001) and TMPRSS2-ERG fusions (34.5% vs 4.6%, q,0.001). Class 1B was depleted of AR transcriptional signatures (q=0.01) but enriched of MYC signaling in GSEA analysis (FDR,0.001), and showed reduced expression of B7-H3. On immune-cell deconvolution analysis, Class 1B showed reduced dendritic cells, but increased B cells and neutrophils (DC: 1.96% vs 0.01%, B cell: 4.27% vs 5.29%, neutrophils: 5.05% vs 8.00%, each q,0.001).

Conclusions: Different FOXA1 alterations exhibit divergent molecular and clinical features, and should not be interpreted in aggregate. In particular, Class 1B mutations are associated with a unique molecular and immunological landscape with potentially better outcomes to ADT, while Class 2 mutations are associated with NEPC phenotype with inferior ADT sensitivity.